Eclipse Stakes goes to Rothera

Moody, Nolen and Rothera combine to win the Eclipse Stakes.

Racing’s most formidable combination, Peter Moody and Luke Nolen have experienced a lean Spring Racing Carnival but made up for that today when Rothera ($21) won the Group 3 Betfair Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Betfair Park.

The future of the former Queenslander was under question by Moody pre-race who said had a float booked to send Rothera back home on Monday but a beautifully judged ride by Nolen may have been enough to extend his stay at Moody’s Caulfield base.

“I might have to speak to the owners and reconsider because I didn’t think he was doing enough,” Moody said.

Moody’s question mark over Rothera wasn’t shared by others in the camp.

“It was the best he presented today and both Luke and the owner have been wanting to get him out to this trip.”

Rothera travelled three deep during the run and settled mid field until the pace slackened and Nolen allowed him to stride up and be ready to pounce once the field turned for home.

“We always travelled well even though we covered a little bit of ground, we always travelled well.

“He’s been working super at home and Pete pulled the blinkers off him. Just old horses with old legs and we just treated them and he felt terrific today,” Nolen said.

Rothera has won 11 career races and today’s win was his first at a distance beyond 1600 metres and his first for the reigning premiership winning trainer and the jockey is confident he may have turned the corner.

“That won’t be his last win with us,” Nolen said.

Nolen said that the Rothera appreciated the give in the ground today which contributed to the improved performance.

Rothera won by a 1 ¼ lengths and staved off late challenges from Folding Gear ($9.50) and Ulundi ($16) who both came from worse than midfield to claim the minor placings.

The pre-race favourite, Erewhon ($4.80) was never a chance in the race and produced nothing in the straight to finish last.

Erewhon’s rider, Kerrin McEvoy reported to stewards that he was not suited by the slow pace.

Sandown Saturday Selections

Sandown Guineas Day Meeting – Saturday November 05

Race 1 – 1. Andre Roo Hoo 11. Vital 2. Differing Fortunes

Race 2 – 1. Combat Kitty 2. Anise 7. Shopaholic

Race 3 – 3. Reprisal 6. Jumpin Jack Cash 1. Norsqui

Race 4 – 9. Parables 13. Masthead 1. Doubtful Jack

Race 5 – 9. Under The Eiffel 4. Launay 8. Nine Tales

Race 6 – 1. Americain 2. Mourayan 4. Lamasery

Race 7 – 1. Galah 8. First Course 6. Amah Rock

Race 8 – 1. Ginga Dude (EACH-WAY SPECIAL) 5. Majestic Music 8. Belgietto

Race 9 – 3. Hi Belle (SPECIAL) 2. Sophie’s Spirit 13. Yavanna

Americain out to break Williams’ streak

Three internationals to run in Zipping Classic.

The 2010 Emirates Melbourne Cup winner Americain appears the most likely contender to stop the winning streak of owner Lloyd Williams in Saturday’s Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Betfair Park.

Williams’ now retired warhorse Zipping won the Classic (formerly known as the Sandown Classic) in each of the past four years and the Melbourne Racing Club have recognised this achievement by naming the race in Zipping’s honour.

His sole representative in this year’s $350,000 Classic is Mourayan who was scratched from the Melbourne Cup on race morning due to a hoof injury after finishing 2nd in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day.

Americain and fellow international Manighar, who finished fourth and fifth in this year’s Melbourne Cup head a small field of five stayers for the feature race at 3.30pm (AEST).

Sydney visitor Lamasery and the English-trained Saptapadi, who also contested last Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, complete the field.

The $350,000 Betfair Sandown Guineas (1600m) at 4.10pm is another highlight on a wonderful day’s racing at Betfair Park – the final major metropolitan raceday of the 2011 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

The Darley-Peter Snowden operation holds a strong hand in the three-year-old Group 2 event this year with two runners including impressive last start Carbine Club Stakes winner Galah (barrier 4) and the in-form Lonhro colt Mental who has drawn awkwardly in barrier 11 in the field of 16.

Snowden will be aiming to win the Guineas for the third time in four years following on from the success of Caymans in 2008 and Kidnapped in 2009. Chasse went close to making it three in row for Snowden last year except for a close half length defeat to fellow Sydney-trained galloper Pressday.

The Paul Messara-trained Mahisara is among the major challengers to the Snowden pair in the Guineas following a gallant 2nd at Flemington on Emirates Stakes behind another combatant on Saturday, Mick Price’s Instinction.

Instinction, one of three runners for Price in the race has drawn barrier 13 in the 16 horse field and will again be ridden by in-form jockey, Craig Newitt who has ridden Instinction at each of his six race starts to date.

Trainer Peter Moody will be hoping to win his first Sandown Guineas with either Highly Recommended or Covered in Class. Highly Recommended was narrowly beaten by Galah by a short head in the Carbine Club Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington while Covered in Class looks outclassed with her most recent outing managing 2nd place in a ratings race at Ballarat.

The Written Tycoon Champion Sire Stakes (1000m) for two-year-olds at 12.15pm is an intriguing juvenile race where only three of the 11 acceptors have been to the races before.

Gai Waterhouse, Tony McEvoy and Peter Snowden all have interesting unraced youngsters engaged while Robbie Laing (Andre Roo Hoo) and Rick Hore-Lacy (Magnus Reign) are both running their colts after their 2nd and 3rd placings in the Group 3 Hong Kong Jockey Club Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.

Combat Kitty is the interesting runner in the Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m) at 12.50pm after a barnstorming victory at Flemington in the Group 3 Lexus Hybrid (1400m). Trainer Darren Smith has been forced to replace Damien Oliver due to suspension and has engaged Hugh Bowman for his first race ride on the General Nediym colt.

The second running of the 3200m Sandown Cup at 1.30pm sees Norsqui and Olympic Win at the top of the weights, the winner and 3rd placegetter in the Lavazza Long Black (2800m) on Melbourne Cup Day.

Norsqui will be looking for his 7th career win while Olympic Win will be searching for his 6th in Saturday’s ultimate staying test.

The Sandown Cup is the only non black-type race on Saturday’s card.

Zahra celebrates unexpected Group 1

Mark Zahra claimed his maiden Melbourne Group 1 with a pick up ride in the Emirates Stakes

Hometown jockey Mark Zahra combined with premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller to score a memorable Group 1 victory at Flemington on the final day of the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Zahra today steered talented veteran Albert The Fat, a $17 chance, to a last stride triumph over Kings Rose ($11) in the $1 million Emirates Stakes (1600m) with Secret Admirer ($6.50) a length back in third.

Recognised as a classy sprinter for much of his career, the seven-year-old was having just his second attempt at the mile after finishing 12th in last year’s Emirates Stakes for former trainer Paul Messara.

Zahra, who was aboard in last year’s race, settled Albert The Fat in the last third of the field before tracking nicely into the race on the back of well fancied topweight Jimmy Choux ($7).

The Peter Moody-trained, Luke Nolen-ridden King’s Rose kicked clear at the 200m mark, but Albert The Fat dug deep to deny Moody and Nolen a Group 1 double after the earlier win of Black Caviar.

For Zahra, who celebrated his maiden Group 1 win in Melbourne, the result was “indescribable” after only securing the ride yesterday when original booking Damien Oliver elected not to appeal a Derby Day suspension.

“It’s unfortunate for Damien but he’s got 100 or so (Group 1 winners) so I’m sure he’s happy to give me one. I’m just thrilled,” the popular jockey said.

“I only had 55-and-a-half (kilo) rides today and my manager (Reece Murphy) rang yesterday and said ‘don’t go silly but you might be riding this horse.’ Sure enough he rang last night and I hadn’t gone silly.

“I’ve got to give him (Murphy) a huge wrap. He does a superb job and to share this with him is massive.”

Zahra said the instructions were to ride the horse quietly and give him every chance to run the mile.

“To the horse’s credit, the last 100 (metres) he was out on his feet and just dug deep and he wanted to win. It was huge,” he said.

Waller, who said it was a big thrill to be winning a Group 1 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, paid tribute to Zahra for his ride.

“It was timed to perfection,” he said. “He (Zahra) certainly could have had a little bit more up his sleeve and that would have made it easier for me (to watch), but full credit to Mark (Zahra).

“He basically only picked up the ride yesterday so he didn’t have much time to do any homework or get a feel for the horse. He is a very professional jockey though and got the job done.”

Waller said Albert The Fat, who is now likely to campaign in Perth, had enjoyed the perfect preparation and benefited from a decision to bypass a run on Derby Day.

“Each of his runs have been good. There was one average run in Sydney but that might have been second-up syndrome but certainly last start the writing was on the wall and all he had to do was get the 1600 metres and fortunately he did,” he said.

Black Caviar makes it 16 straight

Champion Black Caviar extended her unbeaten streak to 16 in the Patinack Farm Classic

Black Caviar extended her unprecedented winning streak to 16 when she claimed her second successive $1 million Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington today.

As she did last year, the champion mare easily accounted for six rivals winning the Group 1 Classic by two-and-three-quarter lengths much to the delight of thousands of flag-waving fans trackside.

The major difference from 12 months ago, when she won by four lengths, was the jockey with regular pilot Luke Nolen back in the saddle after missing last year’s race through suspension.

Nolen, who has had well documented lean patch throughout the Melbourne Cup Carnival, said his overall emotion was one of satisfaction to end a frustrating run of outs.

“Just a little bit of satisfaction that I’ve finally ridden a winner at Flemington on Cup week. It’s been a long week,” the Scobie Breasley Medallist declared.

“You don’t want to disappoint the people that come to see her and she’s got a faultless record that I want to keep intact,” he added. “She has done a good job today and she’s beaten some reasonable horses.

“I know I’m going to miss her like hell the day she retires,” Nolen added about the remarkable journey he has enjoyed with Australia’s pin-up horse.

Black Caviar coasted over the 1200-metre journey in 1min 8.32sec, half a second slower than last year’s winning time but she never appeared to be out of second gear.

Winning trainer Peter Moody was again in awe of his champion mare who completed the same hat-trick of wins as she did in last year’s Spring Racing Carnival after victories last month in the Schillaci and Schweppes Stakes, both at Group 2 level.

“It’s great that she has been able to put on a show for the big crowd that has come out to witness her today,” Moody said.

“She can only race what’s there and they were all good horses behind her but once again she has toyed with them.”

Providing she pulls up well the champion mare is now likely to travel to Perth for the Group 1 $500,000 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on 19 November.

After that she returns in the New Year for a campaign aimed ultimately at the famous 2012 Royal Ascot Carnival in the UK next June.

A victory at Royal Ascot in either King’s Stand Stakes or Golden Jubilee Stakes would see the connections of Black Caviar claim a $600,000 bonus as part of the Global Sprint Challenge.

With her victory today, Black Caviar surpassed the 15-race winning streaks posted by inaugural Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductees Carbine and Bernborough.

Next in her sights is another Hall of Fame member, 1930’s weight-for-age champion Ajax, who won 18 consecutive races before his shock defeat at 1/40 in the 1939 Ranvet Stakes.

The Australian record for the most consecutive wins is 22 shared by Queensland bush stars Sava Jet and Miss Petty, whilst the metropolitan record stands at 19 with Desert Gold and Gloaming winning races in Australia and their homeland, New Zealand, during the streak.